Essay Forms Government

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I own, I felt Indignation at Reading this which to me seemed to be a sounding the Trumpet of Despoticism, and I could not but be shocked, to hear a Man complain of the too great Liberty of the Press; while he himself, is the most flagitious Abuser of that Liberty he would restrain.

This Freedom may very truly be said to be a characteristical Badge of the Freedom of the State, as by that alone Liberty of thinking is preserved; the Deprivation of which, is always attended with the Loss of Freedom of Speech, and the next Consequence is the Loss of free Agency.

This Employment would have been so pleasant, and agreeable to me, that it would necessarily have protracted this Dedication beyond the usual Length.

Besides, I am so selfish, as rather to let Mankind be ignorant of your good Qualities, than by publickly declaring them, run the Risk of loosing the most valuable Blessing I ever enjoyed, the Friendship of a worthy generous discerning Man.

When we are unaccustomed to these three Privileges, I wonder what Remains can possibly be left of publick Liberty, but a Shadow and a Name?

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If the Press by being unrestrained is sometimes the Minister of evil Men, as in the Case of the ever memorable it is always ready to assist the honest Man to confute such Principles.

A Doctrine that cannot be refuted, ought to be propagated; and while an even Liberty is allowed to all Men to communicate their Thoughts to the Publick, there is no Danger, that any one will be able to impose any ridiculous Systems on the World.

Besides, is it not a sufficient Check on Men, that they are punishable in an exemplary Manner, for publishing any thing contrary to the Laws of their Country; should their Foolhardiness lead them into any Attempts of that Sort!

But as this Power carried with it a Degree of Superiority over the rest, which Men are naturally very averse to submit to, in any one, especially when no Ties of natural Affection, or Gratitude, intervene, to balance their strong Love for those valuable Rights of universal Equality, and natural Independency, it is hardly to be imagined, that they would consent, to vest any one Man, naturally their Equal, with this Power; nor can it be thought, they would more readily lodge it in the universal Assembly of the Fathers of Families, exclusive of themselves, because they were under no natural Obligation to the major Part of the Members of such Assembly.

To sooth their Humour, and at the same Time both preserve Liberty, and prevent Licentiousness, an artificial Being was to be found out, who might answer all the Ends of a natural Superior, without being liable to the Objection of one Man’s assuming an Authority over another; and where else could this possibly be found out, than in the universal Assembly of all the Members of the different Families?


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